Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The Natural Hot Springs of New Mexico
When the Spanish explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries stumbled across New Mexico’s natural hot springs, they discovered the healing properties that the Native Americans had already known for centuries.
Some claimed they had found the Fountain of Youth in these relaxing and calming hot springs. Now guests have a chance to follow in their footsteps with a visit to some of the most spectacular locations in the “Land of Enchantment.”
The village of Jemez Springs is one of New Mexico’s most enchanting destinations.
Nestled between stunning red rock remnants of ancient lava flows – which are over a million years old - the village is world renowned for its famous mineral hot springs.
Fissures in the earth allow water near the surface to make contact with the rock below that is heated by the magma. The result is a steady supply of wonderful, hot springs that bubble up naturally throughout the valley. Jemez Springs is a great place to get away for the weekend, reconnect with nature and enjoy the healing mineral waters.
The Jemez Valley runs from an area just north of the Jemez Pueblo up through to the Valles Caldera preserve. Along this 45-mile stretch of state highway, guests will find natural hot springs, great fishing spots, endless hiking trails and lovely camp sites.
The springs include the Spence Hot Springs, Giggling Springs, and the San Antonia Hot Springs. More information for visitors can be found at the Jemez Sprigs website.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs & Spa
Steeped in myth and legend, these ancient springs have been a gathering place and a source of healing for hundreds, even thousands of years. The use of the waters can be traced back to the earliest human settlements in the region when ancient people, believed to be the ancestors of today’s Native American Tewa tribes, built large pueblos and terraced gardens overlooking the springs.
Posi (or Poseuing) - ‘village at the place of the green bubbling hot springs’ - was home to thousands of people.
Although Ojo Caliente’s natural springs were used for centuries by the area’s Pueblo Indians, today the resort consists of an historic mission-style hotel that dates back to 1916 and is one of the longest continuously operating health resorts in the U.S.
The Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa (pictures right) is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water, and the resort’s ten pools are filled with different combinations of waters and temperatures.
There’s also a mud pool where guests can apply mud all over their bodies and then bake in the sun, releasing toxins from the pores of the skin. Recent renovations and expansions have enhanced the service offering without abandoning the authentic and historic nature of the original environment.
Accommodation includes: The Historic Hotel, charming cottages, and suites with private outdoor soaking tubs.
Other hot springs in New Mexico:
Outside of the star attractions there a host of other hot springs in New Mexico. Here travelbite.co.uk takes a quick look at some of the best.
Firstly the large, 99°F hot Battleship Rock & McCauley Hot Springs are located in a high mountain meadow near the Battleship Rock in Jemez Springs, named for its similarities to the prow of a ship.
Clothing is optional.
Located along the spectacular canyon of the Rio Grande near Taos, Black Rock Hot Springs is a small grouping of hot springs that forms a small pool alongside the Rio Grande when the river is low.
North-west of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument are the House Log Canyon Hot Springs - a little hot spring found only when the Gila River is low.
It is unimproved and surrounded by trees and ferns. Clothing is optional.
The Lightfeather Hot Springs are also alongside the Middlefork of the Gila River, near Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Finally, Montezuma Hot Springs is a collection of hot springs bubbling out of the side of a hill, feeding a variety of rock and cement tubs.
Though the springs were originally used by the historic Montezuma Castle Resort near Las Vegas, they are now accessible to the public.
Please note many of these springs are located in remote destinations and may require a certain amount of hiking, climbing or other physical activity to reach. Guests should always check with the Forest Service or local ranger station before attempting to access these pools.